Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleads guilty in Mueller investigation

Pauline Gross
February 24, 2018

Both charges from the first indictment in Washington and the second round of charges filed Thursday in Virginia center around Manafort and Gates' past lobbying and financial activities, and are not related to their work directly for the Trump campaign. Both had already faced the prospect of at least a decade in prison if convicted at trial.

In a letter Gates sent to friends and family Friday morning, the source said, the father of four indicated he recently had a change of heart and chose to work with Mueller's team, despite an initial determination to fight the charges against him.

Other charges include sixteen counts of fraudulent individual tax returns, as well as failing to disclose foreign bank accounts and misrepresenting more than $10 million in income, from Cyprus-based companies, as loans.

An attorney accused of masking abuses by the former president of Ukraine in cooperation with the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty on Tuesday of lying to the special counsel investigating Russian election interference.

The attorney, Alex van der Zwaan, the son-in-law of one of Russia's richest men, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to a charge of lying to the Special Counsel's office.

The new indictment dropped four charges that Manafort had failed to register his ownership of foreign bank accounts, though prosecutors said the accounts still form the basis of a criminal conspiracy.

"Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence", he said in a statement. Manafort edited the resulting document, topping up the balance by $3.5 million and sent it back to Gates to turn it back into a PDF.

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"In total, more than $75,000,000 flowed through the offshore accounts", the new indictment alleges.

A superseding indictment was filed Thursday afternoon against Manafort and Gates, 32 criminal counts which featured charges of income tax evasion, bank fraud, and conspiracy. It doesn't name the conspirators but notes that one of them worked at one of the lenders.

The indictment comes amid ongoing turmoil in the pair's defence camps. That same day, Gates' previous lawyers asked to withdraw from the case. Green did not respond to a request for comment about the new charges, and neither did Manafort's spokesman.

The special counsel was appointed in May to investigate potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. In a February 22 minute order, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote that both the Alexandria and Long Island properties are liable for foreclosure. ABC News said Gates had been wrangling over what to do and only finalized his deal with Mueller a few days ago. Gates is the fifth defendant to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation.

Michael Flynn, who was briefly Mr Trump's national security adviser at the start of his presidency, admitted to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about contacts he had with the Russian government during the presidential transition. Neither man has been sentenced. Since his indictment past year, Manafort has stopped cooperating with the congressional investigations.

Mr Mueller is also examining whether Trump obstructed justice through actions including the firing last May of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

Other reports by GizPress

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